Donna Karan

Fashion icon Karan no longer owns the company that bears her name, having sold out for $643 million in 2001, but she remains creative director.

Donna Faske's first attempts at launching a fashion career weren't very auspicious: She dropped out of Parsons after failing a draping course and was then fired from an Anne Klein internship due to her lackluster performance. However, Donna convinced Klein to take her back. This time she rose up to associate designer, a position she held until Klein's death in 1974, at which point Japanese textile magnate Tomio Taki bought a controlling interest in Anne Klein and promoted Karan to head designer.

Eleven years later, she left the company and created her own line of neutral, practical outfits for working women. The younger, sportier DKNY line was launched in 1988 and by 1995, Karan was overseeing one of the world's largest fashion companies comprising a men's collection, a denim line, children's wear, accessories, beauty products, and even furniture. Although she'd previously vowed to never sell her name, in 2001 Karan sold out to Louis Vuitton. While Karan still holds creative control, the company has struggled since its acquisition.

Karan's first husband-and father of her daughter Gaby-is Mark Karan. She left Karan for Stephan Weiss, and they were married from 1983 until his death from lung cancer in 2001. [Image via Getty]